Last chance to get herbicides onto lawn

Alberta’s ban on weed and feed lawn products goes into effect in 2010, but some Red Deer homeowners have already said good riddance to herbicides.

Tim Matlock looks over the description of a bag’s contents while shopping in the garden section of the Canadian Tire south store.

Alberta’s ban on weed and feed lawn products goes into effect in 2010, but some Red Deer homeowners have already said good riddance to herbicides.

Ron Mason, who was buying lawn fertilizer at the south end Canadian Tire Store on Monday, hasn’t used 2,4-D products in years.

He gets down on his hands and knees and pulls weeds up because he doesn’t want to use chemicals. He relies on regular maintenance.

“A really healthy lawn will choke weeds. I’m still waiting for that to happen,” Mason said with a laugh. “But I dig them out every Saturday for an hour.”

As of Jan. 1, 2010, herbicide-fertilizer products will no longer be allowed on store shelves in Alberta to reduce the amount of herbicide 2,4-D that runs off lawns and into storm drainage systems and eventually into creeks and rivers.

Products intended for spot application to kill weeds will still be available for sale in Alberta.

Weed and feed products put more than 10 times the amount of 2,4-D on lawns than is needed to kill weeds, according to Alberta Environment.

Mason said a while back he discovered weed and feed he was using on his lawn was killing his pine trees from the inside.

“The weed part gets sucked up with the feed part into the trees and kills them.”

Customer Tim Matlock of Red Deer swears that applying fertilizer and grass seed every year keeps lawns healthy.

“You’ll end up with the biggest, thickest lawn,” said Matlock who was going home to apply the combination on Monday afternoon in preparation for the snow expected today that will melt and kick-start his lawn care.

The ban will not impact the agriculture sector, landscaping industry or golf courses since weed and feed products are almost exclusively used by homeowners for their lawns.

Canadian Tire store manager John Dueck said weed and feed products have been popular, but new products to replace them will slowly be added to store shelves this year.

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